Kunstformen der Natur (or known in English as Art Forms in Nature) is a book of prints by German biologist, Ernst Haeckel. The geometric shapes and natural forms captured precisely by Haeckel continue to inspire artists and scientists. Via Wikimedia Commons, you may access more than 100 illustrations from the publication.
BILDGEIST is a “visual journal of scientific illustrations, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, prints and artworks from the public domain”. The images are of various themes including astronomy, alchemy, mythology, cartography, anthropology, zoology, botany, and general curiosa. Users can filter the contents by period, categories and keyword tags.
Wikimedia Commons is a “media file repository” of public domain and freely-licensed educational media content, including images, sounds and video clips. Launched on 7 September 2004 by the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Commons uses the “wiki-technology” that is the same technology used in Wikipedia. Wikmedia Commons also aggregates files from other projects, including Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikivoyage, Wikispecies, Wikisource, and Wikinews. As of October 2015, there are more than 28.7 million files in more than 120,000 collections. Users can conduct a keyword search or browse the content by topic, type, author, location, license and source.
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum of New Zealand. Their collections online contain information of more than 500,000 works of art. Among them, more than 30000 have downloadable images for reuse in high resolution. Users can search by keywords.
Since 2013, British Library released more than 1 million images to Flickr Commons. The images were obtained from the Library’s digitised collection of 65,000 books of the 17th, 18th and 19th century. The release of these images indicates the Library’s desire “to improve knowledge of and about them, to enable novel and unexpected ways of using them, and to begin working with researchers to explore and interpret large scale digital collections”. The images are arranged by different themes, such as book covers, illustrated letters, maps, flora and children book illustrations.
Vintage Printable provides images that are believed to be on public domain or out of copyright. Most of the images are focused on vintage naturalist or scientific illustrations. Users can search or browse by different categories.
Developed by The Open Knowledge Foundation, The Public Domain Review is “an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and celebrating the public domain in all its richness and variety”, as according to the website. Images in their collections are derived from a wide range of online archives, that are on public domain. The images are arranged by topics, where users can search or browse by time, style, genre, type, content and rights.
The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is “a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global ‘biodiversity commons'”. Started in 2011, the staff of BHL began to upload illustrations from books in their collections. These illustrations were created over the past 500 years. To date, more than 98,000 of natural history and botanical illustrations have been uploaded to their Flickr account.